I'm currently doing research on colonial effects on North African countries, and one aspect I want to comment on are both the positive and negative effects of the previous colonial power. Some of these are the colonial mentality (colonial inferiority complex) that has permeated (negative effect), as well as through cultural/linguistic imperialism. On the other hand, positive aspects are (some may argue) democratic ideals of governance, economic systems based on free markets, architecture, or social structures.

My analysis is on some of these cultural imperialism after-effects that are still in play today, whether it is elitism, social stratification, and division in ethnic/class backgrounds. The palpable social and cultural influences which have a long-lasting, transgenerational influence due to previous colonization coupled with colonial mentality - is there a term for this?

Acculturation is, as far as I can tell, a method by which describes the process by which social, cultural, and psychological changes may develop between two cultures (i.e., colonial culture adapting to the prevailing culture), but this does not seem to specifically describe this phenomena.

If there are any books/papers on this, as well as a specific term for this effect, that would be very helpful!

  • If I understand your question correctly, this might be a useful starting point in your search: The Influence of Postcolonial Studies on the Transformation of Methodology in Philosophy and Cultural Theory. May 3 at 2:20
  • The field of postcolonial studies has lots of terminology, though they mostly focus on the cultural sphere. For the economic side of things I would look at world systems theory and it's critics
    – mart
    May 3 at 7:46
  • 1
    Why do you seek single neologism ? To sound more academic ? :) As a rule, academic works trying to dazzle readers with flashy words and terms have little substance in it. I would recommend that you use what you already mentioned : colonial inferiority, cultural inferiority complex etc ...
    – rs.29
    May 3 at 11:40
  • @rs.29 mostly out of laziness - I want to have a specific word (if there is one) to describe this concept instead of typing it out multiple times :)
    – qxzsilver
    May 3 at 15:21
  • @LarsBosteen this is very helpful - I will look into this, although I'm looking more into using the concept and providing concrete examples throughout colonial and post-independence North African history
    – qxzsilver
    May 3 at 15:23

"[Post-]Colonial Entanglement" is a term used by historian Achille Mbembe in his book On the Postcolony, to describe:

the coercion to which people are subject, ... a whole cluster of reorderings of society, culture, and identity, and a series of recent changes in the way power is exercised and rationalized.

I don't think its necessarily meant to describe only bad things (value judgements are understandable here, but perhaps best left to the political sphere), but rather to talk about the lasting complexities left behind by the colonial experience. But of course those changes were necessarily at their source coercive. Very few colonized societies had to beg a reluctant colonizer to come take their societies over.

  • As a bit of full disclosure here, my sister has a book published by that name, so if you do a web search on the term, you're quite likely to get mostly hits referring to a book authored by someone with the same last name as mine.
    – T.E.D.
    May 3 at 15:20
  • Thank you, I will look into this. I am looking at this as a way to describe concrete effects throughout history, both colonial and post-colonial. I think this is a good way to describe this concept
    – qxzsilver
    May 3 at 15:24
  • @qxzsilver - As near as I can tell, the term was originally coined to talk about colonial Africa. Probably mostly sub-saharan Africa, but still it seems like it ought to be of some use for North Africa too. My sister repurposed it to talk about the modern Native American experience.
    – T.E.D.
    May 3 at 15:26

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